Welcome to Eric’s world. He’s starting his professional career and will be sharing the journey with us

Eric Aydin-Barberini

Experience: Assisting Matt Cant since 2015; shooting gigs and festivals since 2016; Ambassador for The Photographers Gallery DEVELOP program
Exhibitions: RSPH/RPS Health and Arts Flashpoint, 2017; Cardiff Arts Academy End of Year Show, 2017; Penarth Pier Pavilion Open Arts Exhibition, 2017; Rat Trap, collective, 2016; I Can’t Afford a DSLR, solo, 2015
Education: Art & Design Foundation Diploma, 2017; Direct Digital Studio Assistant Course, 2018

What would you like to do be doing this time next year?
Ideally I’d like to be based in London full time, balancing part-time work as a photographic/studio assistant and producing my own personal fine art projects. Hopefully I’ll have created a strong brand and social media presence. Being able to be involved in any youth art or music schemes would be awesome too. This a bit of a pipe dream (as I don’t have a BA) but I’d also quite like to try do a photography masters at Central Saint Martins, as the course looks amazing. This is something I’ll have to work toward and build a case for over the coming months.

What’s the last shoot you were on?
Seven days of shooting Green Man Festival in the Welsh Brecon Beacon mountains. It’s a massively popular music festival, that I’ve attended since I was 15. So it was a huge honour to return this year as not just a photographer, but as a member of the official photography team! The work was tiring but I loved every minute and learnt a lot.

What’s the next shoot in your diary?
A day filming the last instalment of a promotional video for The Photographers Gallery DEVELOP program. Although it’s mostly post-production at this point! Apart from that the next shoot I have lined up is Outlook Festival in Croatia, where I’m shooting for an online magazine called Nation Of Billions and for a UK hip-hop record label called High Focus. 

What was the last new thing you learnt?
Skill wise, probably just improving my ability to interact with people as I became more self-aware and confident. On a more technical level the last thing I learnt or really embraced was probably the use of curves and presets in Lightroom. As they have allowed me to push my editing to the next level, visually and time management wise.

What would you like to learn next?
I’d love to learn curves and split toning in more depth, as I’ve yet to fully master the subtle ways of using them to my advantage. Apart from that I think it’s about time I started to use more extensive lighting setting ups as far as my personal work is concerned so any opportunity to learn that from assisting or a course, I’d grasp with both hands.

If you could assist any professional photographer working right now, who would it be and why?
Oooh that’s an interesting question that I’ve never really considered. Possibly some contemporary photographers that aren’t that much older than me, like Joey L or Sarah Bahbah, as I love their subtle blend between personal and commercial work, to the point you can’t tell the difference. Working with both really appeals to me as I see a middle ground between their two opposite styles, as space I could easily occupy, later in my career. I feel seeing their process’ in action could really inform how I conduct own projects in the future. 

What makes you happiest about photography?
This is a hard question to answer as there are so many aspects of photography that make me happy. I know it’s a cliché but two main things bring me joy in photography. Firstly, meeting so many different types of people and seeing into such different worlds, that you wouldn’t see otherwise. It’s like trying each career for a day! Secondly, capturing The Moment. I was once told I was obsessed with The Moment. The second when everything comes together, the climax of a scene. Capturing the essence of what is happening, probably in the most dramatic way possible (knowing me). Often leaving me unsatisfied with my work, unless it lives up to this intense standard, but when I do I feel fulfilled. Especially within my personal projects or when photographing musicians I love, it makes me even happier as I feel I’ve captured my emotions within the image.

What kind of photographic scenario scares you?
Probably one in which my vision doesn’t come together or all my ideas leave me. I often find myself leaning on my own creative instinct or eye for composition, to pull something cool together. In the event of the initial ideas going down the drain. So that would probably be might nightmare situation, just one where nothing works creatively.

What is your most treasured bit of photographic kit?
If you asked me that a few months back I would have said my 8-16mm lens but I’ve pulled away from using that as much due to distortion. Now I tend to stick to my trusty 35mm. As I like the intimacy of the lens without the issues that come with a wide angle. Recently I purchased a Black Rapid camera strap, which I love and I can already tell will help me create better images. As a practical and image conscious person, I’m often concerned with the practically of what I’m using and how it looks. So standard Nikon camera straps make me feel like a tourist/little kid and aren’t particularly helpful when shooting. So having this strap has given the me the confidence that I look the part and can comfortably take pictures without wondering where I am going to put the camera, as it rests comfortably (and safely) on my hip.

If money were no object, what bit of kit would you buy?
Have to say I’m not really a kit person so my answer to this is pretty boring, as I can’t say ever thought about this.

Realistically, what kit will you buy next?
Probably some sort of longer focal length for event photography. Maybe a 70mm - 200mm. If not I’ll be upgrading to higher quality wide lenses at some point. On your deathbed, what would you hope to say has been the highlight? God that’s dramatic. Especially when in the grand scheme of it I’ve barely even started. There’s been a few highlights so far, each for different reasons. Shooting Green Man festival was a massive moment for me, as I’ve visualised joining the photography team there for years now. Being on stage at Outlook festival last year, shooting in front of thousands of people was cool too. I’ve enjoyed being part of the DEVELOP program and really hope I can help people that were in the position I once was. But what I think beats all of that was watching my family, friends and strangers interact with my three photo, music and word installation, my final piece for art foundation. Watching people immerse themselves in a piece of work I have created, crying or reflecting their own experience in the emotions and message conveyed in the piece. It was one of my proudest moments so far where I felt as though I could truly consider myself an artist. I hope to create many more moments like this and see my ideas visualised on a bigger scale.

As featured in Professional Photo magazine, issue 136.

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